I’m glad to introduce you to Cassandra Austen. It’s her first time with us and we will read about her latest book: The Portrait which is a historical romance set during the Regency era in England and Wales. It is not a JAFF book but it is a romance that I recommend for its angst! Cassandra Austen writes historical and contemporary fiction set in both old and New England. She is the author of The Portrait, a historical romance that takes place during the Regency period in England, and Coming Home to Greenleigh, a contemporary New England romance. She lives and works in her 1700s farmhouse in northern New England, but you are welcome to visit her at her virtual home: cassandraausten.com.
Before reviewing, I will let you have a rough idea about the book, enjoy the blurb.
Lady Catherine, banished to the countryside as a useless girl with a lame leg, got her revenge by playing a dangerous game. And now it will ruin her.
When the old earl dies, his only child feels no sorrow. The earldom will now revert to the crown and Lady Catherine will continue to live life exactly as she pleases. But when she learns that she is the heir to a secret family title, everything changes. Marriage had once seemed unnecessary and out of the question; now it is the only thing she wants. The two men in her life both need her influence and wealth. Whom shall she choose? The kind but secretive Captain Avebury? Or the notorious Sir Lyle, the handsome smuggler? Both men deal very differently with honor. And when Catherine’s secret self-destructs, which man can be trusted to save her?
The Portrait is about a strong woman, foolish decisions, trust, and the definition of honor. Fans of Jane Austen’s independent women will recognize in Catherine a voice which will not be silenced.
Catherine, a strong-willed woman but also a very stubborn woman. She is almost a “pariah” in good society even if she is rich. Rich but soon without a title because her father is on his deathbed and she is “just” a female who cannot inherit, therefore, the title is about to disappear. That’s the main reason why Catherine’s father has never shown any love for her but there’s something else, the reason why society does not mind her much, she has a physical handicap, her leg. However, Catherine enjoys, more or less, her life. She has given up on many things, like marriage.
Although a turn on events, makes her realise that what she needs is to get married because, unknown to her before, she is the heiress to a title in Wales that goes from her mother to her as an only child. This fact was hidden by her father because he was extremely upset that he had a daughter that could not inherit his title, therefore, he wanted his late wife’s title to disappear.
Catherine has a suitor but she does not trust him completely, he wants to marry her and proposes but eventually she refuses him. However, things may not be as they seem. Moreover, Catherine has started a friendship with Jocelyn, a man of the navy who hides too much. Although he is, for Catherine, the only one who sees past her leg.
Things are never easy and even less when communication is almost inexistent. Bits of suspicion, jealousy, a lot of stubbornness (as I mentioned before) and, even more secrets! The Portrait is a romance story and…
There is a happy ending but you don’t know who gets the happy ending or how. There’s the big secret that Catherine hides and some other secrets will be discovered. Dreams change during the life of a person and it is not different in this story. Join Catherine on her life, where she almost dies too.
Discover who is Captain Jocelyn Avebury and his secrets. More importantly, who is L??
Thank you very much, Cassandra Austen for writing this book and also having My vices and weaknesses in your blog tour. Thank you, Amy for organising.
Blog tour schedule
Enjoy this blog tour even more if you visit the previous stops, you can find more reviews, excerpts, an interview, etc.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Pride and Prejudice, that great novel by Jane Austen that we love so much and has given us so much too. Not only the themes and the characters and her insight on people’s minds and lives but also the JAFF part that she may have never thought about it. All the what ifs, the variations, the sequels, different eras, etc. just carry on with her legacy. I’m not going into better written or less well written but I will say that today we have a really good writer who is presenting her latest book: The Colonel: a Longbourn’s Songbird. This book follows Beau’s Longbourn’s Songbird.
An obvious thing about this book: Colonel Fitzwilliam is the main character or the main person in this book. I don’t know what you think about him, but I would love to know. I really like him and the way authors portray him of JAFF: a super nice cousin taking care of them, on regency even marrying Georgiana or Kitty or Charlotte, being always the one making fun of Darcy, etc. I believe he can be so reliable in a story that I immensely enjoy his stories. This story is not going to be an exception. As I mentioned this book is second to Longbourn’s Songbird and I recommend you to do as I’m going to do this summer, read both books. I cannot wait to start them and you will know about it 🙂
Beau North is telling us a bit more about “the Colonel”:
This isn’t a love story, but the end of one. The story of two ships forever passing in the night. This is the story of my father and the woman he spent most of his adult life loving, a woman who was never really his.”
1950: After letting his chance at love with Elizabeth Bennet slip through his fingers a second time, Richard Fitzwilliam loses himself in women, whiskey, and war as he tries to forget what he left behind. Putting oceans, continents, and decades between himself and his heartbreak, Richard seeks his future, only to be pulled back to the past again and again.
2002: Shaken by recent events, Ben Fitzwilliam has left everything familiar behind, walking away from his relationship, his Manhattan apartment, his career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to return to his family home in Annapolis, Maryland. Struggling to navigate a world that makes less and less sense, Ben finds purpose where he least expected it: in his father’s private letters. With the help of Annapolis PD Officer Keisha Barnes, Ben attempts to uncover his father’s secrets, heal the rifts those secrets caused, and find the answers he seeks on far shores.
Spanning decades, continents, wars abroad and wars at home, The Colonel is the anticipated companion to Longbourn’s Songbird.
I put these links for you to know where to buy this super interesting book but it was also for the sake of distracting you of the fact that he loved Elizabeth Bennet! It should not come to a surprise if you have read the first book but if you haven’t…
Did you read the part: “a second time”?!?! I will leave it there.
If you are intrigued, just wait for it! Read the excerpt that Beau North is sharing with us. Have fun!
Excerpt Setup: After a somewhat disastrous New Year’s Party at the Fitzwilliam home in New York City, Richard sends his cousin a letter that is partially an apology, and delivers some surprising news.
January 15, 1951 Dear Will, Greetings, salutations, etcetera. Thank you for dragging your family complete up to the city for the party. It was, as always, good to see you, but even better to see you so happy. You can be pretty fun to be around when you’re not glowering and putting everyone off of their feed. You must think I’m very foolish. No need to deny it―I saw the look that passed between you and your excellent wife. Did you know that the two of you, taken separately, are about as easy to read as Greek—but when you’re together, you’re comically transparent.
So yes, I was a foolish man. Nothing to be done for it now. If I can be grateful about anything, it’s that I never fancied myself to be in love. I was thrill seeking, endangering life and limb, hell, my very sanity (or what’s left of it) but never in love. You may be glad to hear that that is all over with now. In any case, I don’t want either of you to worry about what kind of trouble I’ll be getting myself into next because well, damn it, there’s no easy way to say this, but I am back in the army. Old man Tilney himself pulled some strings and brought me back in, with a promotion.
When I took two bullets in Brest, I was a captain. The old bastard got me kicked out as a major, and now I’m going back in a lieutenant colonel. I could be one of the youngest men to make colonel, provided Uncle Sam doesn’t get fed up with my antics before then. I’ll have a bigger command now, which is good but troubling too. I hope that I’m up to the task. I think that there is more to this little skirmish than they’re letting on.
I’m to leave at the end of the month. I was hoping it wouldn’t be an imposition to come spend my last week there at Pemberley. We could settle my affairs (just in case) and I could say my (temporary) goodbyes to you all.
Confer with Mrs. Darcy and ring me up when you know. Your faithful friend, Richard Darcy looked up from the letter at the two women dearest to him. Georgiana had her nose buried in a book while Elizabeth sat buttering her toast. She wore a bemused little half-smile, as if remembering a joke she hadn’t heard in years. She was beginning to show, getting more beautiful every day. She seemed to glow from within all the time these days, even when she was wretchedly sick or weeping or falling asleep every few minutes. His heart beat almost painfully when he thought about the child she carried, their life to come. He honestly had no idea how she would take this news. “So,” he began, watching Elizabeth’s face. “I have a letter from Richard here.” Her only acknowledgment was a tiny lift of her eyebrows. “Any messages from Charlotte?” “Ah, no. So I’m assuming things must be well.” Georgiana put her book down and picked up her coffee, making a face. “Wasn’t his girlfriend so awful?” Elizabeth’s lips twisted in a wry smile. “Actually, I rather liked her, though probably for all the wrong reasons. She was vastly entertaining.” Darcy smiled. “She was rather appalling. I think she might have even been ruder than I am.” “Impossible,” Elizabeth teased. “Still, I shouldn’t laugh at her. If she makes your cousin happy…” She never said his name, Darcy noticed. It was always your cousin. He wondered if she was even aware of it. “Ah, well. That’s part of why he writes. It seems that Miss Huntington-Whitney is out of the picture now.” “Thank goodness,” Georgiana said with a sigh. “Poor Richard.” If any of this talk bothered Elizabeth, she didn’t let it show. Darcy turned to his sister and asked if she would excuse them for a minute. She shrugged and gathered her things before breezing out the room. Darcy reached over and took his wife’s hand. “Elizabeth, do you mind if Richard comes to stay for a bit?” “Why on earth would I mind? As long as he’s not bringing that little goblin with him. Not that I mind but I think she would probably upset Georgie.” “I think you know what I mean when I ask, and it has nothing to do with Georgiana.” “Oh good lord, not that again. I think we’d better get used to our new family situation sooner rather than later. We’re all adults, aren’t we?” “That point is debatable. There’s…something else.” “You’re worried! Is everything all right?” “Richard has…well, damn if he’s not in the army again. That’s why he wants to come for visit. He’ll be headed out at the end of the month.” She looked down at her plate, a small crease appearing between her eyebrows. “I see. Headed out where?” “I think you know.” She cleared her throat, a habit she was picking up from him. “Are you going to tell Georgie or should I?” “Don’t you want to tell her together?” “One of us ought to inform Mrs. R, don’t you think? Yes, I think I will. You tell Georgie. I’m sure she’ll have all kinds of questions.” She stood suddenly, smoothing the fabric of her dress with the palms of her hands. “Elizabeth—” “I’m fine, William.” But he wondered. Wondered at the tight set of her shoulders as she walked out of the room, the overly precise and careful way she closed the door behind her.
OMG!! Sorry, I’m speechless right now, or wordless.
Well, you know me, I’m not really wordless but I wanted you to reread that last paragraph and maybe think: what has happened? Was there something between them? Did he declare himself? Did she refuse him? So many questions that need to be answered soon!
Let me know on the comments what you think. Please if you have read Longbourn’s Songbird, do not leave any spoilers for the people who have not.
Thank you very much, Beau North for being with us today and bringing us your latest book which is extremely appealing!!
Beau North is giving away an e-copy of both of her books. To participate, click the link below and follow instructions:
I am going to do introduce you to Death takes a Holiday at Pemberley in a strange order. First I will let you read an interesting excerpt Kelly Miller is sharing with us. Have fun!
When dinner was over, Darcy fidgeted in his seat as the dishes were cleared away. Elizabeth rose and left them with the stated intention of proceeding to the drawing room.
He waited until the door to the dining room closed behind her. “Graham, I need to speak with you in my study.” Even to his own ears, his voice sounded severe—more so than he had intended.
A slight lift of the man’s brows was the sole inkling of any reaction to his tone. “By all means. Let us go there now.”
Once they were in the study, Darcy directed Graham to a comfortable chair and offered him a glass of brandy.
Upon accepting the proffered glass and taking a sip, he nodded. “This has an excellent taste, Darcy. I thank you.”
He stretched himself into his tallest, most erect position as he stood over Graham. “I want you to tell me why you are spending time with my wife. You said I was to be your guide, not Elizabeth.”
Graham shrugged. “I did say that. I still mean to spend time with you, but it has occurred to me that it makes sense to spend just as much time with your wife. After all, if I am not mistaken, she is a significant reason you are so content. Do you deny that she has a huge effect on the state of your happiness?”
His hands curled into fists, and the muscles along his spine tensed. “I have no wish to deny it! Elizabeth is my wife. She is everything wonderful; I am aware of how lucky I am to have her, and I love her with all my heart. I want you to stay away from her.”
As he continued to take slow, savouring sips of his brandy, Graham peered at him with his head tilted. “My, such a strong reaction. Of what are you afraid? Do you suppose, if she spends too much time in my company, she will fall in love with me?”
Darcy turned away and poured a brandy for himself. Elizabeth would never fall in love with a man such as Graham; that was ridiculous! It was evident she was attracted to him, but that was very different from love. However, it upset his equanimity to have the words said aloud. Attempting to ignore his racing heart, he scoffed, “No, of course not. I trust Elizabeth. It is youI do not trust.”
Graham raised his eyebrows. “What do you imagine I shall do?”
He took a healthy swig of brandy. “I have no way of knowing, but I do know you have powers to do things that should be impossible. You could take advantage of her, scare her, confuse her, or hurt her.”
Graham’s facial muscles tightened, giving him a staid cast. “I can understand your concerns. I am not of your world. Where I come from, we do not follow your rules or laws. However, I know the expected behaviour of a gentleman and give you my word that I shall behave as a proper gentleman at all times with Elizabeth. I shall not hurt her in any way—or your son for that matter.”
His shoulders lost some of their tension at Graham’s assurances. Having the man’s company inflicted upon his family was intolerable, but if he was to be believed, he posed no danger to them. At any rate, it seemed he did not have a choice in the matter.
“Furthermore, I have plans in Lambton for this evening, and I do not expect to return until tomorrow.”
He almost smiled at the promise of Graham’s absence from Pemberley until a possible explanation occurred to him. His breathing grew rapid and shallow. “You—you cannot know anyone in Lambton. Does this mean—is someone going to die?”
Graham grinned and a redness infused his cheeks; the angel was blushing. “No, not at all. I do not mean to work while I am here; this is to be my holiday. I happen to have met a lady today who I anticipate will welcome my company. She was one of a number of ladies I was introduced to this afternoon at the Lambton Inn.”
He frowned. Elizabeth had not mentioned this. “Why were you at the inn?”
With an unstudied air, Graham said, “Elizabeth and I stopped for bit of tea and cake. She was made uncomfortable when all of the ladies in the place stared at us, so I invited all of them to join our table.”
Graham gazed out the window with a fanciful expression as if moonstruck. “Oh yes. I met quite a few charming ladies today, but Mrs. Mead stood out as one who could use a friend like me.”
What do you think? Do you know what is going on? Are you totally lost? Who is Graham? I will help you a bit with the blurb of the book:
What will the master of Pemberley do when confronted with the mercurial whims of an all-powerful angel?
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s well-ordered life is about to become a chaotic nightmare. A man of fortune, property, and social prominence, he has everything he could desire. Blissfully married to his wife, Elizabeth, they have a two-year-old son. With so much to live for, Darcy is shaken by a near-fatal riding accident. After a miraculous escape, he is visited by an otherworldly being: an angel of death named Graham. Threatening dire consequences, Graham compels Darcy to guide him on a sojourn in the world of mortals.
Darcy immediately questions the angel’s motives when he demands to be a guest at Pemberley. Can he trust Graham’s assurance that no harm will come to his wife and child? And why does Graham insist on spending time with Elizabeth? How can Darcy possibly protect his family from an angel with power over life and death?
In this romantic fantasy, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice must contend with both human and unearthly challenges. Are the fates against them? Or will their extraordinary love conquer all?
Now you know who Graham is, but what about Elizabeth? If it is an angel of death, what does that mean? Is E… or his son going to d…?? What a nightmare?
or not… 😉
Let me introduce you to the author of this romantic fantasy with Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy as central characters.
Kelly Miller discovered her appreciation for Jane Austen late in life, and her love of writing even later. It was the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice that made her take notice and want to read the actual book. It was many years later that she discovered the world of JAFF. After reading a slew of wildly inventive stories featuring the beloved characters created by Jane Austen, she was inspired to write one of her own. Now, writing is one of her favorite pastimes. When not writing, she spends her free time singing, playing the piano, and working out. Yes, like Elizabeth Bennet, she is an excellent walker.) Kelly Miller lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter and their many pets.
On my review there are not spoilers where the plot is totally told or given, but there may be some information that you may not like to read about as it may have small bits of info that can give away very specific details about a character. I would like Kelly to comment and give her opinion. However, I do not think there is any issues with this review.
What would you do if you faced death but in the last second “something” or “someone” saves you? What would you say? Mr Fiztwilliam Darcy does not know what to say either. Therefore, when the following day to a dangerous accident, a handsome man arrives to his home saying that he was the one saving him, Darcy cannot believe his fate but recognises that he was saved. Although he is not very happy with the deal… This “someone”, Graham, wants to spend a whole week with Darcy in order to know what makes Darcy happy. And as JAFF readers that most of you are, what makes Darcy happier than life? Elizabeth Darcy, née Bennet and their two year old son in this case.
Therefore, Darcy is not really glad of having a very handsome man at his home, Pemberley. Kelly Miller has created the perfect anti-Darcy for Darcy (but not like Wickham): he is handsome (I know I said it before), he is well-mannered and outgoing, everyone simply likes him but he is not a scoundrel.
Before getting into a few more details, I would like to write that Kelly combines a lot of different plots within the main story. I believe you would enjoy reading about Anne de Bourgh, one of my favourite subplots, or even reading about Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam, Jane and Charles Bingley, etc. All these plots have two parts in common, on one hand, Darcy and Elizabeth; on the other hand, Graham. How beautiful is everything that Graham does, when he is not annoying Darcy! Is it Darcy’s opinion or is Graham really annoying him? Read the book 😉
Back to Darcy and Elizabeth for a bit… Darcy is actually preparing a surprise birthday party for Elizabeth. She believes that her family and Georgiana cannot come to her birthday, maybe all of them will not be able to come, or maybe yes, or maybe we will even have more uninvited “guests”. Are those guests welcome? What do you think? Perhaps they are not welcome but there may be a turning point for them or even a redemption. I will just say on this respect: LC.
For a short part of the book we “lose” Graham but he is there, somewhere, do not forget about him!
I think Kelly has a really good way of writing stories where the subplots make the main plot be even better as they fill it with more love, more surprises, more to think about.
If you would like to buy this book, you could do it, among other sites and formats, on the following ones:
I am honoured to finish the blog tour of Death Tales a Holiday at Pemeberley. I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Two things before you close the tab: 1st check some of the other posts that share more about this book, you will like them and 2nd keep reading to participate on the giveaway!
I am happy to introduce you to Jayne Bamber and her newest publication Unexpected Friends and Relations. I would like to apologise to Jayne Bamber once more as I did not publish this post on time. Both of us had a hectic month of April and basically, life happened. However, there was an easy solution and here you have a post about a very interesting book.
I have not read many mash-ups with the character of Jane Austen. However, some that I have read are among my favourites, for instance Joana Starnes’ The Subsequent Proposal where Pride and Prejudice joins Persuasion. Therefore, I am convinced that I would love to read this book, the second one of the Friends and Relations series.
Let me introduce you to the author:
Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.
Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.
After years of dating Wickhams, Collinses, and the occasional Tilney-that-got-away, Jayne married her very own Darcy (tinged with just the right amount of Mr. Palmer) and the two live together in Texas with a pair of badly behaved rat terriers, and a desire to expand their menagerie of fur babies.
Here you have the blurb of Unexpected Friends and Relations:
Following their marriage and a cozy Christmas at Pemberley, Elizabeth & Fitzwilliam Darcy return to London with their family. As new dilemmas arise, the story shifts its focus to three of Austen’s beloved secondary characters, one of her less exalted heroines, a familiar villainess, and the fan-favorite original character Lady Rebecca.
Georgiana Darcy continues to suffer the consequences of her folly at Ramsgate, as well as the peril of following some well-intended but ill-advised counsel that jeopardizes her chance at true love.
Caroline Bingley, now unhappily married and desperate to salvage her position in society, takes on the arduous task of reforming her wild and willful young ward, though it’s anybody’s guess which of the two of them is in greater need of transformation.
Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam travels to Surrey on a mission of mercy, but she and her cousin Emma embroil one another, and many familiar faces in the area, in a web of romantic entanglements from which not everyone will escape unscathed.
Mary Bennet struggles with matters of morality and self-discovery, attempting to find good in the world, as well as her own place in it, but must do so on her own terms, always tip-toeing around the dramas and difficulties of those she loves.
Amidst the complex maneuverings of a diverse and demanding family, an unexpected heiress emerges, and with her rise in station come all the glittering delights of the fashionable world, as well as the challenge of navigating the uncharted territories of high society, extended family, and even her own heart.
After attaining a Happily Ever After, the Darcys retreat into the background as their friends and relations pursue destinies of their own. Equal measures of mishap and miracle result in several alternately paired couples, while some stories are left to be resolved in Book Three, and a wide array of Austen characters will make an appearance in this tale of six unlikely heroines.
Let’s read what Jayne wants us to discover:
Hi! I’d like to introduce my new release, Unexpected Friends & Relations, which is the second of a three-book series in which the characters from all of Jane Austen’s novels live in the same world. Their lives are intertwined through the bonds of family and friendship, and this results in some alternative romantic pairings that did not take place in the originals.
The first volume of the series, Happier in Her Friends Than Relations, is definitely a must-read before embarking on Book Two. Happier focuses primarily on the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, with romances for Colonel Fitzwilliam (now a viscount) and a widowed Marianne Brandon, and a shocking secret in the Darcy family.
The story opens with a surprise villain and sets off a chain reaction that ripples across the story, which spans a full year. Elizabeth meets Mr. Bingley in London, where she isn’t the only one having difficulty with a sister, and she meets a couple of new faces – original characters – who change her life.
Darcy has more than one secret when he first meets Elizabeth, adding to challenges to their relationship that are only exacerbated by more than one death of a familiar character. The story takes Elizabeth from London to Kent, to Pemberley and Somserset before she and Darcy reach their HEA.
The second volume of the series, Unexpected Friends & Relationsopens four months after the close of Book 1, and shows our beloved characters in London for Georgiana’s season, which is nearly ruined by whispers of the Darcy secret. Another scandalous secret is uncovered, bringing a new heroine into the midst of the extended Bennet-Darcy-Fitzwilliam clan.
Not all goes according to plan, and the characters break off into groups, with many traveling to Rosings Park in Kent, while others go to Highbury in Surrey and unleash havoc in the life of Emma Woodhouse. While Emma’s world is embroiled in romantic entanglements, the same is happening at Rosings, and the stakes are high for Georgiana, Caroline, Lydia, and many others.
Volume 3 will be released this fall, shifting the action to Sanditon, at the behest of Sidney Parker. More familiar faces from the world of Austen will make an appearance, in the seaside village shrouded in mystery!
I will be doing more blog posts over the next few weeks, sharing details about Unexpected as well as excerpts, and will be drawing winners May 20thfor an e-book giveaway! For more info, follow me on Facebook!
For now, I’d like to leave you with an excerpt revealing one of the family secrets that will play a major role in Unexpected….
On the first of March, Harriet was conveyed to London to meet her parents. The journey from Highbury was a short one, though the two hours felt like an eternity. She was grateful to her friend Miss Woodhouse, who had contrived for Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Weston to accompany her to Town; without their supportive presence, she was sure she would have fallen to pieces with anxiety.
What would her parents be like? Though she had naturally wondered about them many times over the years, when faced now with the prospect of actually meeting them, she began to feel that she had not given it nearly enough thought. Certainly they must be very grand indeed, and she began to fear that they must be so high above her that she would inevitably be found wanting.
Her companions were all patience and benevolence during the drive into Town. “You have nothing to fear,” Mrs. Weston assured her. “I am sure all of your family is very eager to have you amongst them at long last. Though we know none of the particulars as to why they should seek you out now, I am sure it will all be made clear in time. Your mother’s letter said they are a large family, and you shall have brothers and sisters and cousins very near in age to yourself. That shall be a blessing indeed for you!”
“And you have a shared acquaintance with your friend Miss Woodhouse,” Mr. Knightley reminded her. “Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam is both your cousin as well as Emma’s. Certainly you shall discover some common ground with her. I believe Mr. Darcy’s younger sister is just coming out into society, as well, and I daresay you will find a friend in her.”
“Quite so,” Mrs. Weston agreed. “I daresay you shall find my company quite unnecessary within a few days, once you have settled in. You shall see how they cherish you, and then we shall laugh about all this fuss over nothing.”
Harriet doubted very much that this would be the case, for her apprehension only increased as they arrived at her parents’ stately townhouse in Mayfair.
Mr. Knightley planned on staying near his brother’s house in Brunswick Square, and dropped Harriet and Mrs. Weston at the door of the grandest house Harriet had ever seen. They were greeted by the butler and housekeeper, both called Banks. Mr. Banks saw to their luggage while Mrs. Banks led them up to their guestrooms. Adjoining rooms had been arranged for Harriet and Mrs. Weston, and Mrs. Weston declared it very thoughtful of Harriet’s parents to have taken such a detail into consideration. “I am sure they must have thought of everything you may require for your comfort, Harriet,” she said as they were led upstairs.
“Begging your pardon, ma’am, but her ladyship is most adamant that you shall want for nothing, Miss Sutton,” the housekeeper replied.
Realizing that Miss Sutton was now how she was to be addressed, Harriet nodded and murmured some words of gratitude. Assuring them that their trunks would be brought up directly, the housekeeper took her leave, as Harriet took in her new bedroom in unreserved awe.
It was like living in a palace! She stood in shock for several minutes, soaking in every detail of the very feminine bedchamber that was to be hers. All of this is for me? The room was nearly four times the size of her room at Mrs. Goddard’s, which she had never thought was wanting. This – this was beyond anything. A large canopied bed dominated the center of the room, with elegant linens in shades of pink and ivory – a princess might sleep comfortably there!
There was a very stately vanity table with a large mirror on one side of the room beside a wide window with elegant damask drapes, offering a view of a quaint little garden beneath. On the other side of the room was a gilded wardrobe so capacious that she could not even begin to imagine ever filling it, though she supposed such things must be normal for ladies of her mother’s station. Altogether, the bedchamber looked as if it belonged to someone Harriet was not sure she could ever be.
Mrs. Weston came through the adjoining door a moment later, smiling serenely. “What do you think?”
“It is far too grand,” Harriet breathed. “Oh dear, do you think I shall ever grow accustomed to such finery?”
“I am certain you shall, and sooner than you think. No one ever minds having what is too good for them, though I am of the opinion that there is nothing too good for a sweet girl such as yourself. It is a testament, I think, to how highly your parents must esteem you.”
“Oh my, yes,” Harriet replied. “They must indeed, to go through so much trouble. But what if they think I am a very fine lady, and are disappointed to discover that I am not?”
“Let us have no more of that talk,” Mrs. Weston said. “Your father is brother to Mrs. Goddard, to whom he entrusted your care, and therefore they must have perfectly realistic expectations for you. If they wish to raise your station, you must learn to accept their generosity.”
“I suppose you are right,” Harriet admitted. Still, she was expecting every minute to wake up from nothing more than a very pleasant dream.
A moment later came a knock at the door, and Harriet suddenly tensed up, fearing it would be her parents. It was only another servant, who introduced herself as Sally – she was to be Harriet’s own lady’s maid.
“I’ve come to attend you. Your mother wishes to know if you require some time to freshen up before joining her in the drawing room.” Turning to address Mrs. Weston, she added, “I believe my sister Sarah will be coming to attend you, ma’am.”
“Thank you, Sally,” Mrs. Weston replied, returning to her own room. A footman entered a moment later, bearing the trunk that contained all of Harriet’s worldly possessions. He set it down beside the wardrobe and left her alone with Sally, and Harriet regarded the little trunk fretfully; how small it looked, just as out of place in such a grand house as she herself must be.
What do you think? Harriet’s family is known at last! She is related to Mr. Darcy too! Very very interesting 🙂
Jayne Bamber is giving away an ebook of Unexpected Friends and Relations. To participate click the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!
What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?
Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!
Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!
Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.
Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?
Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.
“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”
̶ author L. L. Diamond
What has happened? What’s up with Elizabeth?
Hello dear readers! I am pleased to have Suzan Lauder back with us. However, I am pretty intrigued with her new book. Even the title is intriguing: The Mist of her Memory.
This is Suzan’s fourth published book and I am expecting it to be really good. Just a few weeks ago, I readA most Handsome Gentleman and I enjoyed it a lot. If you do not know anything about this book, I will just point out that the handsome gentleman is Mr. Collins!! (among others).
Let me (re)introduce you to Suzan Lauder:
A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.
Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.
She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.
I hope you enjoy this brief excerpt that Suzan is sharing with us. I think that the description is great, the last paragraph is so good that I have imagined everything that he was listening to. Enjoy!
Meryton en route to Derbyshire
After he refreshed himself with a quick wash and change of clothes, Darcy boarded his carriage once again and hastened to Longbourn before it was too late in the day for a call. This part of his agenda must not wait until the morrow to be completed.
As might be expected, Miss Catherine’s face peering through the window was the first sign of a Bennet at Longbourn. The delicate fabric of the curtain snapped back into place. They did not know him well, but the nervous, noisy chatter amongst them would not be restrained by lack of familiarity, and the younger Bennet ladies and their mother were famous for their inability to curb their tongues. He smiled to himself. If he were to take them on as family, he would have to become accustomed to behaviour he had complained about in the past.
But he did not come to call upon the ladies of the house, and upon admittance, Darcy requested an audience with Mr. Bennet. As expected, the gentleman was found in his library, his bespectacled nose in a book, when Darcy was announced. As he entered, the older man held up one finger as he finished whatever passage held his interest. While he waited, Darcy perused the room he had seen only briefly in the past. It was small but lined with rich mahogany shelves containing many books of high quality. In fact, there was a lack of space, and piles of volumes stood among those neatly shelved with stacks nestled in corners on the floor and upon the large desk of a library too small for its owner’s collection. The scents of leather, paper, and dust mingled in the air.
After a few moments, Mr. Bennet placed a leather marker at his page and closed the tome whilst viewing Darcy over the tops of his spectacles. Following Darcy’s bow and formal greeting, Mr. Bennet rose and offered his hand in a gesture of friendship.
“This is a gentleman’s library, not a parlour. We are less formal here,” the older man said with a mild smile as he waved the volume in his hand towards a chair.
“Are you enjoying your book?”
“Indeed. I am rereading an old favourite.” He passed the copy of Shakespeare’s plays to Darcy.
“Ah yes, a preferred book in my home as well. I also enjoy seeing the plays performed in the theatre.” Darcy returned the book to him.
“I am seldom in town, so I must rely upon my imagination for that aspect. I am not wistful about it, though. I do enjoy the country life in preference to all that noise and bustle,” replied Mr. Bennet. “So what brings you here so early this morning, sir, and without your friend? Though I suppose whenever you have attended with Bingley, it was while he was making eyes at Jane, and he no longer needs to come to Longbourn for such a thing.”
“I have come to ask your blessing on my engagement to Miss Elizabeth, who has consented to marry me.”
The older man’s bushy brows flew towards the receding line of his white hair, and his eyes became impossibly wide for a few seconds. “Oh!” was all he said before he peeled off his spectacles, bit the earpiece, and seated himself again behind the desk.
Darcy is León Riesener by Eugène Delacroix
Darcy started at the loudness of the exclamation then waited for a response, but Mr. Bennet sat silent. Darcy began to notice sounds in the distance that accentuated the absence of one gentleman’s much-desired reply: a clock, high-pitched voices, a service bell. All were muffled as if far away, yet they pierced his ears nearly as much as the one word full of emotion and surprise had done.
Who is surprised? Here we are reading that Darcy goes to Mr. Bennet to ask for the blessing to marry Elizabeth but he is on his way to Derbyshire… where is Elizabeth?
You may want to buy this book because with not a lot of information, this is getting bizarre and I have to say that the blurb itself would make me buy it straightaway. In case you may think that, you could buy it on the following links among others (check ebook or paperback):
Terms and Conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
I am very pleased to introduce you to a new Jan Austen Fan Fiction release by C. P. Odom as well as having him for the first time with us. Welcome, Colin!
Perilous Siege is his last novel published and I would say that it is a very original way of combining our lovely character from Pride and Prejudice with the modern world, well, not even ours just yet… but 2045. Still 26 years to go!
I have not read Perilous Siege yet but I am very intrigued about it. However, I have read one of his other novels and I really like how he writes.
Just to give you a bit of information, read the book blurb and see what your first impressions are:
What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice? When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world. Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?
Major Edward McDunn… Why are you going to do with Lizzie, with Darcy, with the Colonel, with Georgiana…? Are you a friend or a foe? You must be a friend if Mr Darcy befriends you, right? We will see..
Let’s know something else about the author before carrying on with this curious book. C.P. Odom is letting us know a few interesting bits of his life.
By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree. I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing. One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published: A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015). My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, was recently published in the second quarter of 2019. I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats. My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).
Engineering, Marine, aircrafts, Jane Austen… Now maybe, some pennies are dropping, what do you think? Not sure yet? We will get soon to the excerpt but first, let me tell you how you can follow C.P. Odom to discover more about his writing.
Without further ado, please enjoy this interesting excerpt that shows us when Darcy met the Major. Let’s see how shocking it may be… or not. However, first, Colin is telling us a bit more about the writing of this book and how fund it was.
Thank you, Ana, for inviting me to share this excerpt from my newest novel, Perilous Siege. It’s from early in the novel, where Fitzwilliam Darcy discovers a man from the future of our world (the year 2045, to be exact) lying in a field on his estate of Pemberley. Yet this novel doesn’t involve the science fiction concept to time travel (which is totally impossible according to Einstein, but then this is fiction, right? And I’m a long-time science fiction reader.). In my novel, I made use of another science fiction concept, that of parallel universes resulting from decision points leading to different outcomes. Thus, in this fanciful concept, the number of parallel universes would be literally infinite, and surely there would be one in which Jane Austen’s characters actually existed!
So, imagine the fun I had in putting myself into the persona of someone from approximately our time who got sent to the world in which he most belonged (he’s a reader of Jane Austen, besides being a US Marine from the future of the United States). The means of transport was the Siege Perilous, an artifact from the legend of Arthur Pendragon, King Arthur. Hence, the title of my book, Perilous Siege – Pride and Prejudice in an Alternate Universe. According to Merlin, the Siege . . . well, perhaps it might be better to include the explanatory paragraph from the Prologue when the wizard Kaswallon, whose family had custody of the Siege for two millinea after the time of Arthur, explained it to Major Edward McDunn:
“Ah, there you are wrong, brave McDunn, for you sit on a remnant from Arthur’s court—the Siege Perilous, the vacant seat at the Round Table. It was found by Merlin, who proclaimed only the knight who was successful in his quest for the Holy Grail could sit in it without dying. Six of Arthur’s knights tried to and died, or so the legend says. But the legend is wrong, as was Merlin, for the knights who disappeared did notdie. They were sent elsewhere to the world meant for them. Only Sir Percival and Sir Galahad, who together achieved the Grail quest, were able to sit in the Siege without disappearing. Or so said Merlin, wrong as always, because the real reason they remained was they belongedto this world, not elsewhere.” So this is the discovery of McDunn in a world he never imagined . . .
If a coin comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed. Until that moment the two possibilities were equal. But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart. — Philip Pullman,The Golden Compass
Tuesday, October 10, 1809 Pemberley, Derbyshire
“Sir! Sir! Mr. Darcy!”
Fitzwilliam Darcy had been half-dozing as his coach rumbled along on this still-warm autumn day. He was on the final leg of a journey to his Pemberley estate when, startled from his comfortable doze, he sat bolt upright at the call of his driver and the subsequent hard braking of the coach.
“Yes, Wainwright?” he called, looking over at his sister, Georgiana, and his cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam as the vehicle lurched to a stop. “What is it?”
“Over there, sir! A man!”
“A man? Where?”
“In the grass, sir! To your right! A-lyin’ in the grass!”
Darcy felt the coach shake as one of the footmen scrambled down from the back of the coach, and he was not surprised when Brown appeared suddenly at the door.
“I will see what it is, sir,” he said in a gravelly voice and started to turn away.
“Wait!” When Brown turned around with a surprised look, Darcy continued. “I want to have a look myself.”
He opened the door and jumped lightly to the ground without bothering to lower the entry step. Behind him, he heard his cousin descend in the same manner.
“Stay inside the coach, Georgiana,” he called without turning his head. He did not have to look to know she had intended to jump to the ground. Her natural curiosity grew by the day.
“But William!” Georgiana said, beginning to protest. It was clear from her expression that past experience told her the uselessness of doing so when her brother spoke in such a tone of voice. “Oh, very well,” she said, settling back on her seat.
“Now, where is this man, Wainwright?” Darcy asked. “I cannot see anyone.”
“Over there, sir,” his driver said, pointing. “He is just there. Maybe dead. I canna tell.”
“I should do this, Mr. Darcy,” repeated Brown.
“Or I,” Fitzwilliam said, stepping up beside Darcy with his hand on his cavalry saber.
“I want to see for myself,” Darcy said. Then, seeing the look of distress on his footman’s face, he relented. Brown, after all, did have a secondary duty as an armed guard against the possibility of highwaymen on the road. The threat was admittedly rare in recent years, but it remained.
“Very well, then. We shall all investigate.”
“Yes, sir,” his footman said reluctantly, touching the pistol he had stuck in his waistband. Darcy was careful to conceal his smile at Brown’s protectiveness. The man had never had occasion even to withdraw his firearm from under his coat, but he took his duty seriously.
As he and Fitzwilliam walked in the direction his driver had pointed, Brown followed slightly behind and off to the side. Something was clearly pressing down the long grass of the field.
As they got closer, Darcy realized his driver had been right. There was indeed a man lying in the grass, curled up almost into a ball, but he was attired in a most baffling fashion, which added to the mystery of his presence.
His clothing resembled a military uniform since the trousers and jacket were similar in appearance, but the material itself was like no uniform Darcy had ever seen. It had no constant color, being composed of a mottled conglomeration of browns and tans, but the sharp demarcation of the mottling showed it was intentional and not accidental. The man wore a pack of the same material except its mottling was different in pattern.
In addition, the man’s clothing and pack were incredibly dirty and deeply stained with mud. This was puzzling since the roads and fields were dry. There had been no recent rains, yet the man’s boots, unlike any Darcy had ever seen, were also covered in the same type of mud.
As the men moved closer, Darcy was shocked to realize many of the stains on what he was increasingly certain was a kind of uniform looked more like blood than dirt or mud. Dried blood. A lotof blood.
The reddish-brown stains were down the entire front of his uniform. Adding to the mystery was an unfamiliar helmet on the stranger’s head, covered in the same brown and tan cloth as his clothing.
Darcy heard a rustle of cloth and a snapping sound behind him, and he knew Brown had just withdrawn his pistol from his waistband, cocked the hammer, and was no doubt turning the pistol sideways slightly to get a few grains of powder into the priming pan. Darcy felt no inclination to reprove him. The unconscious man’s presence was enough to justify a degree of caution, especially when coupled with his complete unfamiliarity and the strangeness of his clothing.
A sense of alarm struck Darcy as he saw the item his footman had seen, and he understood why Brown had drawn his pistol. Under the stranger’s left armpit was some kind of leather holster, and protruding from it was what appeared to be the butt of a pistol. The butt was significantly smaller than the pistol in Brown’s hands, as well as being quite oddly shaped. Regardless, there was a sleek deadliness about the weapon that convinced him of its danger.
A second shock ran through him when he saw a long object lying in the grass just beyond the stranger’s out-flung hand. From its length and similar appearance of precision as the pistol, Darcy was certain the long object was also a weapon of some kind. It bore a superficial resemblance to the muskets and shotguns with which he was familiar, but this musket was too short, had strange protrusions in various places, and did not appear to be made of metal. Everything, including the barrel, was colored the same as the man’s pack. Perhaps those colors were paint, but he wondered why a musket would be painted.
Darcy stopped about ten feet away and regarded the stranger. He was deeply tanned but unshaven with several weeks of dark beard. He could see the man’s clothing was not only dirty and bloody but also badly worn with numerous tears, especially about the knees and elbows. Some type of bulky vest or harness was strapped about his torso, supporting numerous pouches bulging with unknowable contents. There were also pockets everywhere about his clothing—on the sleeves and down his baggy trousers—all of them bulging like those on his vest. He lay quietly on his side, breathing slowly and deeply, and the large pack strapped to his back looked vaguely like the packs worn by soldiers illustrated in the London newspapers. For the first time, Darcy noticed several canvas bags nearby, and he realized the mottled coloring of the bags had made them almost blend in with the vegetation.
He looked over at Fitzwilliam, but his cousin only shrugged his thick shoulders. His military experience apparently did not provide any more answers than Darcy’s civilian knowledge.
But caution seemed advisable. The man might look rough and bedraggled, but he was also large and muscular with broad shoulders and large hands, somewhat resembling Fitzwilliam who was a colonel of dragoons and a rather formidable man in his own right. The two shared the same weathered features acquired by a life spent mostly outdoors.
Unable to bear the mystery any longer, Darcy ignored the voice of caution sounding a warning in his mind and stepped forward to nudge the sole of one of the stranger’s boots with his cane. It was only a slight touch, but the results were both startling and violent!
With a rapidity that caused the three men to recoil backward in complete surprise, the stranger seemed to explode up from the ground. With astonishing speed, he rolled abruptly to the side while simultaneously whirling about and half-rising. His head whipped about in a blur, quickly scanning the surroundings before fixing on the group of men in front of him. A clicksounded as he came to a halt on one knee, and Darcy realized that a strange-looking pistol had somehow appeared in his hands. It must be the pistol from beneath the man’s armpit, and it was held in a completely unfamiliar manner, supported by both his hands.
The sight of the pistol caused Darcy to freeze, instantly and completely. The stranger’s dark eyes were locked on him with a dangerous fixation, and the sound he had heard was made doubly ominous because of its similarity to the earlier sound of Brown cocking his pistol.
“Brown, do nothing!” Darcy barked the command. He instinctively realized he had made a grave error; the strange pistol was not pointed at him but rather at Brown, and the muzzle, while clearly not as large as the pistols with which he was familiar, seemed even more deadly.
No one moved for a long second or two before the stranger spoke.
“He’s with you?”
Darcy gave a jerky nod.
“I haven’t fired,” the stranger continued, “since the muzzle of your man’s blunderbuss isn’t exactly pointed at me and his finger isn’t on the trigger. Please have him lower the pistol and un-cock the hammer. I don’t want to kill anyone over a misunderstanding, but I also don’t want to die by mistake either. And I won’t warn him again.”
“Brown!” Darcy said quickly. “Put the pistol away!”
“Yes, sir,” Brown said reluctantly, and Darcy heard the sound of the pistol being uncocked and the subsequent rustle of cloth indicating it was being returned to its place.
“And perhaps, if the big man in the red coat might loosen the death grip he has on that large knife he has partway out of its scabbard, I’ll holster my pistol.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Darcy saw Fitzwilliam reluctantly lower his saber back into its sheath and uncurl his fingers from the hilt. He felt a bit of amusement at the way the stranger referred to his cousin’s beloved saber as a big “knife”—though he was not sure Fitzwilliam shared his amusement.
“Better,” the stranger said, standing up. “Much better.”
He touched something on the small, black pistol. It made the same snapping sound Darcy had heard previously, and he put it back in the holster and buckled a strap over it. Darcy saw he wore a matching holster with a similar pistol beneath his right armpit, and he also had what might be another rifle over his back under his pack. The weapon was covered by a multi-colored canvas sheath with a long belt-like strap across his chest, holding it in place.
Clever idea, all those belts and straps,thought Darcy in wonder. It would make sure they stay in place when galloping about a battlefield, but how did he unfasten the strap so quickly when he awoke?
“I did not mean to startle you,” Darcy said, but the stranger waved away his apology.
“And I didn’t mean to startle you either, but when I felt something touch my boot…well, where I’ve been lately, you wake up instantly or you might not wake up at all. It tends to make one twitchywhen startled.”
“Ah yes,” Darcy said in confusion. “Twitchy. Interesting word.”
The stranger looked at Darcy and gave him a crooked smile. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
“I have never been so confused in my life, sir,” Darcy answered, and his comment seemed to amuse the stranger further since his smile broadened as he looked about him, taking in the attire of Darcy, Fitzwilliam, and Brown as well as the coach and horses.
The stranger waved at Georgiana, who was standing beside the coach in wide-eyed excitement and curiosity.
“I’m sorry if I startled your passenger. I didn’t even know she was there until just now.”
“My sister.” Darcy glared at her. “I had suggestedshe remain in the coach while we investigated.”
“I suppose all of us are completely confused, sir. Me, for example. Not only do I have no idea where I might be, I don’t even know whenthis is. It’s certainly not where I came from.”
Brown stood nearby, and Darcy remembered his father’s admonition never to discuss serious matters in front of the staff. Turning to his footman, he said, “Please rejoin the coach and keep a sharp eye out. I think we will be safe enough now.”
“Aye, sir,” Brown said dutifully, but the tone of his voice made it clear he did not fully agree with his employer. Darcy waited until he had mounted the coach again before turning back to the stranger.
“You do not know where you are?” Darcy asked, his surprise evident.
When the unknown man shook his head, it seemed to make him aware of the helmet on his head. He unsnapped the strap and removed it, revealing a mop of dark hair that had not been barbered in quite some time.
“I’m not at all sure how I came to be here,” the stranger said slowly with visible uncertainty. “If it would not be too much of an imposition, might you first tell me whereI am?”
“You are on my land. This is a meadow on my estate, sir,” Darcy answered with a trace of irritation in his voice.
“Ah, so I’m a trespasser. Very serious, sir. Very serious, indeed. But since I wasn’t aware I was trespassing, perhaps you might enlighten me as to just whereI’m trespassing? I assume your estate’s in England?”
Darcy openly smiled at the renewed evidence of humor in the stranger’s speech as he had consciously modified his speech to match his own.
Except for the use of those contracted words,Darcy thought. I know they are becoming more fashionable in these modern times, but still…and that accent of his! It is definitely not one with which I am familiar. Nevertheless, this is an educated man. It shows in his speech.
“Yes,” Darcy said with a nod. “Pemberley is indeed in England. In Derbyshire to be exact.”
The man flinched momentarily at this information. “Interesting,” he mused. “I thought I would be in Cornwall.” He shook his head and continued. “The next item to assuage my curiosity is the date—the year to be more specific.”
Darcy wrinkled his brow in confusion, looking at the stranger oddly for a moment before he replied slowly, “It is Wednesday, the tenth of October in the year of our Lord, 1809.”
The stranger’s eyes grew large at the information. “It’s 1809!” he murmured. “I thought the stone—”
Whatever else he meant to say went unsaid, and he shook his head again before standing up straighter.
“I do apologize for appearing in your meadow, sir, but I assure you I’m as surprised to be here as you are to find me. But as an intruder and a trespasser on your land, I really should introduce myself. Edward McDunn. I’m American despite my Scots name. Brevet Major and late Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps.”
Darcy’s eyebrows rose just a bit at this bit of information, but he was not completely surprised. “I had surmised you to be American from the manner of your speech.”
“My accent, you mean?”
“Indeed. We both speak the same language, but you clearly hail from elsewhere. If I may hazard a guess, I would say one of the southern of our former colonies.”
“South Carolina,” McDunn confirmed.
Darcy was still confused. What was an American doing in England, much less in Derbyshire? And lying in a Pemberley meadow, especially at this time?
From what his cousin had told him, bad feelings between Britain and the United States of America still lingered from the Chesapeake-Leopard affair back in ’07. Fitzwilliam worried that the Royal Navy’s insistence on stopping ships flying the American flag and impressing seamen from their crews might eventually cause the two countries to stumble into an active state of hostilities.
Have we not enough enemies,he thought sourly, with Bonaparte and the rest of his coalition?
He shook his head at his woolgathering and decided this was not the time to stand on propriety. There was certainly no one to introduce the two of them. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Major McDunn…or is it, what did you say, Gunnery Sergeant?”
McDunn smiled wryly. “It’s lateGunnery Sergeant, sir. That rank, as well as my majority and my place in the Marines are—well, it’s long off in time and far away. Very much so.”
“I see,” Darcy said though he did not see at all. “My name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and as I said, I own Pemberley. And may I present my cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam of His Majesty’s Sixth Regiment of Dragoons.”
Darcy’s hesitation was due to his decision to include his Christian name as the American had done. It was not usual, but he supposed Americans had different customs.
Both men gave the stranger a quick bow, but both Darcy and his cousin were taken aback by McDunn’s reaction. His mouth had dropped open slightly, and he was staring at Darcy as though he had seen a ghost.
Fitzwilliam Darcy? McDunn thought, so staggered by the man’s name that he questioned his sanity.
The name “Pemberley”he had put down as coincidence, but it could not be a coincidence that the man who owned Pemberley in this alternate world also claimed the name of Austen’s hero in Pride and Prejudice.
What in the seven levels of hell is going on here? Darcy!And Colonel Fitzwilliam! And that has to be Georgiana by the coach! Has that Siege stone sent me to a world of fictional characters? Characters created in the imagination of an unmarried author of old-time novels? But this man, this Darcy, said this is his estate! Pemberley in Derbyshire! I know Kaswallon said there were an infinite number of alternate possible worlds, but still—! This is not bordering on the ridiculous; it is so far beyond such boundaries, it’s ludicrous!
What do you think? How is this going to continue? I have quite a few questions that may be answered by reading Perilous Siege.
You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon and other sites. Just check the one that you prefer 🙂
Although the tour has just begun, do not miss the premier of the blog tour and check what is coming 🙂
Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege. The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019. Just click the link below and follow instructions. The terms and conditions are below the link.
Terms and Conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
I believe that the title in itself it is very appealing, what do you think? Let’s see it this way: you know it is JAFF, specifically Pride and Prejudice, and then the most interesting man is portrayed. Yes, that man in none other than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley.
What else do you need to know? Much more, trust me. however, we will start with the blurb of the book.
What has gotten into Fitzwilliam Darcy lately? Charles Bingley, a jolly fellow who relies on his great friend’s impeccable judgment in all things, is determined to find out. What could explain Darcy’s ill humour and distraction? Or his uncharacteristic blunder of speaking Greek to a horse who only understands Latin? Not to mention that shocking book accident! Certainly, it has nothing to do with Elizabeth Bennet, the sister of Bingley’s own angel, Jane. Bingley is certain of it. What was really going on behind the scenes at Netherfield, Pemberley, and Darcy House, and just what did those men talk about over billiards and brandy? In this novella, Bingley sheds a little light on keeping company with the most interesting man in the world, and shares his own musings on puppies, his dreadful sisters, and the search for true love. Prepare to be shocked, delighted, and confused by a Charles Bingley the likes of whom you’ve never met before.
Charles Bingley telling us about his loyal friend, Darcy. Sounds interesting, like the book 😉
Would you like to read a bit more? Let me just introduce you to the two ladies who have written this book and are sharing a great excerpt with us today. Please welcome: Justine Rivard and JL Ashton.
Justine Rivard is a very serious college professor who has no time for frivolity or poppycock of any kind. She strenuously objects to the silliness found in this story and urges you to put the book down at once before it gives you ideas. You are invited instead to join her in the study for a lecture about her extensive collection of whimsical 18th-century animal husbandry manuals.
J.L. Ashton, on the other hand, is a very unserious writer of Jane Austen variations you might have read (A Searing Acquaintance and Mendacity & Mourning) and collector of recipes she will never attempt. She encourages a general lack of decorum and has a great appreciation for cleft chins, vulnerably brooding men, and Instagram accounts featuring animals. Especially cats. Also foxes.
Without further ado, let the authors introduce this great excerpt that they are sharing with us.
Ana, thank you so much for hosting us here at My Vices and Weaknesses, and letting us share an excerpt from our somewhat nonsensical look at the bromance and conversations between Darcy and Bingley. In this excerpt, the two men, one of them considered by the other as The Most Interesting Man in the World, talk about love, food and the elusive Elizabeth Bennet.
Darcy cleared his throat and spoke with what seemed to Bingley to be feigned nonchalance. “Bingley, I hesitate to bring this up for reasons that will become evident, but the most peculiar thing happened this afternoon. I am sure you will never guess who was here when I arrived.” Bingley tried to think of the least likely person Darcy might have encountered upon his arrival at Pemberley. “Napoleon Bonaparte? Beau Brummell? Um…Cicero?” Knowing Darcy, this had to involve Latin and some damn Roman. “Do not be absurd, Bingley. You know very well that Cicero is dead. Still, you truly will never guess, so I shall have to tell you: Miss Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner.” Darcy bit his bottom lip and nodded. “The ones from Cheapside.” Bingley was stunned. How many times since the twenty-sixth of November had he thought of Miss Jane Bennet? At first, he had tried to deny that he ever had any real feelings for her, and he had let his admiration for Darcy and his desire to be more like his friend overrule his own good sense. Not that he really had good sense about anything. He was far more likely to trust the judgment of others than to rely on his own poor powers of discernment. But still, he had been right to listen to Darcy with regard to dear Jane. There was no doubt about it, none at all. Nevertheless, thinking about her always left him feeling full of melancholy and regret—a most unusual and uncomfortable sensation as he was used to happily gliding through life. For the most part, he had been untouched by the dramas, tragedies, and tensions that made up other people’s lives. It made Caroline angry. She always had such purpose in her words and in her stride, yet she had to depend on him—the man of the family—to lead their way in the world. It had hardened her eyes. But why was he thinking about Caroline when Darcy was talking about the Bennets? Here was a chance to hear more about dear Jane from her sister. Suddenly, he was so eager that he could hardly bear it. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet is here?” Oh, it felt so wonderful to say “Bennet” out loud instead of just mouthing the word (with Jane’s name appended to it) in front of the mirror. “Not here. Not here now. She was here earlier, visiting the park.” Oh. Bingley was crestfallen. Here and gone and without her sister. Why had she been here? Had she left word for him, for the dolt who did not understand love or recognise her sister’s worth or grasp how to parry and thrust? Verbally, anyway? “But why here?” Darcy’s face turned a deep crimson. “They were on holiday, um, are on holiday and touring the area. Miss Elizabeth’s aunt is from Lambton. You know, the village just outside Pemberley. They are here for a visit.” Bingley stared at his friend, astonished at the wealth of information he had gleaned. “You spent some time with them?” “No, no, no,” Darcy replied quickly, shaking his head. “Well, yes. Some. Bingley, excuse me. You have come all this way, you are still in your travelling clothes, and I have yet to offer you a drink. Please, sit down.” He gestured to one of the leather wing chairs he favoured. All his homes were littered with them. “May I order you some tea or perhaps some—?” “Brandy. I would like a brandy.” “Brandy?” Darcy enquired, his brow furrowed. “Surely, you must have something to eat first. Would brandy agree with you after that long ride in the hot sun?” Ah, Darcy was worried about his boots or his rugs or his billiard table. Fair enough, though Bingley wished to protest that he had always been able to hold his liquor—unlike some men he could name. Still, he would indeed like some brandy, especially considering how concerned he was that Darcy might at any time ask where Georgiana was. What on earth would he say? He needed a quick excuse! Maybe he could distract his friend by talking about something else. What was it that Darcy had told him? Oh, yes! How could he have forgotten? Miss Elizabeth! “Yes, Darcy, brandy. It has been a long day, and you have a story to tell. I must know everything about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. I should like to have seen her.” Darcy handed his friend a glass of brandy and picked up his cup of tea. “Shall I have some food sent in?” “Oh yes, please. What do you have on hand? Do you suppose the kitchen has a duck pasty or two? Perhaps some sausages or a partridge? Oh, or Cook’s lovely creamed potatoes… And what about some of those delicious sticky buns or her famous berry tarts?” Bingley realised that this might be a bit too much to ask, but he was ravenously hungry. Well acquainted with Bingley’s enormous appetite, Darcy merely nodded and rang for Mrs. Reynolds. “Yes, excellent idea.” “Oh, that reminds me, what is the damage to your billiards table?” Bingley flushed, thinking about the table he had left in ruins earlier in the spring. He cleared his throat. “Well, I know what the damage was. What I mean is: How much do I owe you for its repair?” “Nonsense. You owe me nothing. We had quite a bit to drink that evening, and if you had not done the honours, then Archie or I would have done so sooner or later. Damn soldiers’ drinking games.” Bingley shook his head in disbelief. He could not imagine his talented friend eviscerating a billiards table. Not unintentionally anyway. “No, never. Please let me take care of it, old chap.” “No, no. Truly, never mind. All in a good night’s fun.” That had been an interesting evening, Bingley reflected with some wistfulness. Not that he remembered it too clearly. He recalled something about the colonel…um, Archie flying around on a magic carpet. That could not really have happened, of course. Could it? No, no, that must have been the brandy talking. Something about a hot air balloon as well, and that seemed a bit more likely, although it still seemed improbable that they had actually taken flight in Darcy’s town house. Also something about an ostrich… In any case, the material point was that something had happened after the hot air balloon episode, and that something was the conversation he vaguely remembered overhearing between Darcy and the colonel. Archie. Perhaps he had dreamed it along with the colonel’s magic carpet, but he thought not. It seemed to have been a weighty and important conversation, but Bingley could not quite recall the subject. Something Darcy was not telling him? Something to do with a woman? Darcy had never explained what had happened with his cousin Anne in Kent. And, come to think of it, he had never confirmed that it actually had been Anne at all. Perhaps it was some other lady who had turned Darcy down. Imagine that! If only he could reach through that evening’s brandy-induced haze to retrieve the memory of exactly what the two cousins had been talking about. Bingley’s train of thought was interrupted by Mrs. Reynolds’s entrance into the study. After a proper greeting was exchanged, Bingley enquired about the availability of his dreamed-for meal and was delighted to discover that nearly all of it was already waiting in the kitchen. He was Mrs. R’s favourite bon vivant, and she was well acquainted with his culinary tastes. She clucked and fussed a bit because the berry tarts would not be ready till the next day—when she had expected him to arrive. Bingley suddenly realised that Mrs. R might be curious about Georgiana’s whereabouts, and he was sorely relieved when she bustled out of the room without enquiring after the girl. After her departure, the friends settled into their chairs by the window. Darcy’s knee was bouncing up and down, Bingley noted with surprise. How annoying. No wonder his sisters, his aunts, and Darcy himself constantly chastised Bingley about his own free-spirited limbs. Limbs. He remembered Darcy’s limbs, his legs in particular, stretched high up on the wall that evening, the evening of the billiards contest for the ages. He had looked so relaxed then, even elegant in his drunken melancholy, whilst he was agitated now. Rather as he had been back on that long, cold night in January when they had discussed his verbal parries with Miss Elizabeth. What had that been about, anyway? “Darcy, tell me about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. Did you know she would be at Pemberley? Was it a surprise or a planned rendezvous?” He waggled his eyebrows to emphasise his clever joke. “For God’s sake, Bingley. What do you imply? Miss Elizabeth and I are merely acquaintances in a tenuous sort of manner. She is travelling with her aunt and uncle, they stopped here and walked the gardens, and they encountered me only because I arrived a day earlier than expected. In fact, they believed that none of the family were here.” Darcy glared at Bingley, his face flushed and eyes bright. He clanked his teacup down on the saucer with no little discomposure and poured a bit of brandy into a nearby glass. He eyed it then took a deep swallow. “In what manner did you encounter her? Them?” “Oh. I rode in, felt a bit overheated in the sun, and stopped by the pond. Aeschylus needed a drink.” The Greek steed. That fine piece of horseflesh had a sweet disposition and a white heart-shaped dot on the tip of his nose, and Darcy had named him after a poet instead of something truly memorable such as Avenger, Sport, or Thunder. The man was hopeless. “Did your horse push you into the pond? Is that why you are still a bit damp?” Darcy froze. “Good God, Darcy! Did Miss Elizabeth see you this way, soaked and dishevelled?” “Of course not. I had changed my clothing.” Darcy abruptly stood and walked across the room to an ornate mirror. He grimaced at his reflection and began smoothing back his hair. He straightened his coat and turned around. “In any case, Miss Elizabeth and her family are still in Lambton.” Upon hearing this, Bingley heaved a great sigh of relief and then tried to cover it up by rubbing his stomach in a gesture of exaggerated hunger. He would still have a chance to hear news of Jane! Darcy continued, “I have made arrangements to see them tomorrow morning at the inn where they are staying. After Georgiana arrives, that is. Would you like to join us?” Georgiana? Why did Darcy wish to introduce Georgiana to Miss Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle? She was so shy that it surely would be torture for her. In any case, Bingley did not wish to talk about Georgiana, in particular why and how he had left her at the mercy of his awful sisters. Never mind that. The important question was: Did he want to visit Miss Elizabeth tomorrow? By Jove, yes, he did! “Oh, yes, indeed!” he blurted before continuing on with barely suppressed eagerness. “I mean, that sounds capital. It will be delightful to see her again after all this time. I hope her family is well.” Her family—especially Jane. Oh, it really was tragic that she had never shared his feelings: the warmth and love and admiration. “Yes, she said that they are well,” Darcy replied with a slight smile. “A number of times.” She said who was what? Lost in his daydream about Jane, Bingley could not remember, but he supposed it did not matter over much. “I say, old man, I look forward to observing the two of you spar and joust!” he exclaimed with great jocularity. “You and Miss Elizabeth have a great talent for spirited conversation. Perhaps I can learn from you, and it can help me capture the right lady’s heart.” He still had some doubts about whether that was really what he was looking for in a lady. But he supposed he should jolly Darcy along since it seemed to be what his friend was seeking in a mate. “Honestly, Bingley, you make it sound as though I have some sort of interest in Miss Elizabeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am appalled that you would even joke about such a thing.” Oh dear. Perhaps he had gone too far. Darcy had always made it abundantly clear just exactly what he thought of Miss Elizabeth. So what exactly was the man looking for in a lady besides all those things he had listed back in January? Love, connection, sparring, destiny, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam. Oho! At last, he had used a Latin phrase correctly! Or had he? Perhaps this was the one that meant “beware of dog.” Where was that blasted food?
What do you think? It is pretty amusing. Reading Bingley’s thoughts is like his letter in the novel. I think this will be a very enjoyable book to read. Participate below in the giveaway but do not miss the other posts on this blog tour.
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